Most discussion in the abortion debate presupposes that if the pro-life person can establish the claim that abortion is murder, the debate is over and the pro-life position has won. Camille Paglia, somewhat to the consternation of her fellow pro-choicers, actually concedes what pro-lifers consider to be their central argument. The standard pro-choice position denies the claim that abortion is murder, Paglia's view embraces it, but defends the absence of laws against abortion nevertheless.
Let's take a look at her statements:
Let’s take the issue of abortion rights, of which I am a firm supporter. As an atheist and libertarian, I believe that government must stay completely out of the sphere of personal choice. Every individual has an absolute right to control his or her body. (Hence I favor the legalization of drugs, though I do not take them.) ....
Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue. The state in my view has no authority whatever to intervene in the biological processes of any woman’s body, which nature has implanted there before birth and hence before that woman’s entrance into society and citizenship.
It looks as if a logically consistent position can be maintained here, the freedom to do as one chooses with one's own body trumps the genuine right of the fetus to life. For a lot of people, her position is counterintuitive. Is her position irrational? Well, Hume said "It would not be irrational to prefer the death of a thousand Orientals to the pricking of the little finger." So, how, exactly, does the argument proceed from here?
Actually this reminds me of an old friend of mine by the name of Bill Patterson, (whom Bob Prokop also knew), now an archivist for the Heinlein Library, who staunchly opposed abortion on moral grounds. But since he was an anarchist, he opposed legislation against abortion, since he opposed, well, legislation, period.